Goin’ places that I’ve never been.
Seein’ things that I may never see again. – Willie Nelson
I’m just going to work the cliches like they goin’ outta’ style. So yesterday, after a hefty bill at the auto shop which should be partially reimbursed by National Pride in Kenosha, I was on the road again around 6pm. I left all of my frustration in Mitchell, SD… good… and possibly my camera bag too… not so good. I forgot to mention that there’s no bookstore in Mitchell which caused me to scour a Goodwill full of nothing but romance novels and settle on Watership Down for 50 cents. Good buy, good book. But, they don’t put bookstores in cities with low literacy rates. Noted. Kenosha doesn’t have a bookstore either. Dually noted.
I was headed to the Badlands, through miles and miles of grassland, nice, but not that interesting to look at. So I called my little Sinzioidtron to chat about her Vancouver trip and my adventures thus far. Then I went down a hill.
ThesceneryrapidlychangedIdroveunderabridgeIwasonthephoneAflockofbirdsflewovermycarthenone HIT MY WINDSHIELD. Sensory.Overload. So I flipped various shits on the phone with Sinzi and unconsciously slowed down to around 30mph on a 75mph highway. So I stopped and took some pictures, per request of the Zoid.
The hills didn’t last too long, but before I knew it I was exiting for the Badlands. I was driving and driving and I could see the rock formations in the distance, but they were still far away. Then I pulled up to the Badlands National Park entrance and immediately the this–is-absolutely-amazing-I-never-want-to-leave’s started flowing out’ma mouth. Big beautiful rock formations… like nothing I’ve ever seen before. So I drove through to a trailhead, parked, and geared up to hike as the sun set in the sweet, sweet west.
The moon was nearly full and the … mountains? rock formations? rocks… we’ll call them rocks.. the rocks were illuminated quite well. I had my unnecessarily bright headlamp on and I trecked through the rocks for a couple of hours. I saw many disgusting nasty wretched repulsive godforsaken spiders and a sign that said “Watchout for Rattlesnakes.” Snakes and spiders. Great. But I smashed FOUR spiders on my own (granted I let out various ghastly noises while doing so) that lived in the canoe the other day, so I got over it. Thought about it when I was perched a’top Mt. Jackie, but I got over it. Thought several sticks might be snakes… but I got over it.
So I hiked by moonlight to the top of a rock, pitched my tent (stakes do not go into rocks easily; Kleen Kanteens double as hammers), left the rain fly off and stared blissfully at the stars as I fell asleep.
Except I didn’t fall asleep. Part excitement, part sort of cold, part sleeping on rocks. I don’t recall ever actually falling asleep, but I didn’t really care. I got up at sunrise, took a bunch of pictures, and then slept in the Tomato for a while before moving on to my next quest.
My next quest: find out what this Wall Drug is all about. I’ve seen several bumper stickers and exactly 10 thousand billboards since Minnesota. So on the way out of the Badlands I stopped in Wall, SD to embark on the quest of discovering Wall Drug.
It is this:
Mystery solved. Then it was onto Mount Rushmore.
The drive there was nice:
Badlands to Rushmore via I-90
The drive up was even better.
Black Hills National Forest and Mt Rushmore
(which is a lot smaller than I anticipated thanks to Richie Rich.)
The presidential trail was closed which was LAME, but I got over it, and I got free parking thanks to the nice lady at the parking hut. Now I’m chillin (literally) at a frosty little coffee shop recommended by a local. It looks legit…
And they have soy milk. Buuuuuut, I got an iced coffee and they just poured hot coffee over ice… not legit. And they’ve been bumpin’ a christian rock station… also not legit. Jesus went west too, Little Red.
This post took a long time to craft. Now where am I going? Might go up through the Needles, if I can find them. Then to Yellowstone (I’m saving my precious Rockies for the ride back to Madison in the fall due to time constraints). Then Seattle. Then Orcas.
To be continued…